Falkland Islands - Westpoint and Saunders Islands
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 07 Dec 2021

Falkland Islands - Westpoint and Saunders Islands , 12/7/2021, National Geographic Explorer

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Antarctica

We awoke to a calm, sunny, and very warm day. We arrived at Westpoint Island just after breakfast to discover that we are the first ship visitors to this island since the pandemic began. The two caretakers were very happy to see us.

We hiked past the green and white homestead—with its beautiful flower and vegetable gardens—and then across the island to reach the famous black-browed albatross colony. By hiking through the tussac grass, we could stand near the tall mud nests that these birds build so meticulously. After watching these albatrosses at sea for nearly three weeks, it was a thrill to observe them up close, to listen to their calls, and to observe their nesting behaviour. There are many eggs in the colony!

In between the towering albatross nests, we also found many rockhopper penguins. The two species co-exist quite peacefully and share the colony grounds. These penguins are further along in their breeding cycle compared to the albatrosses, and many chicks have already hatched.

From the colony, some guests hiked up a high ridge to a panoramic view of the landscape, while others spent time along the beach or visited the sheep-shearing shed.

By mid-afternoon we had arrived at Saunders Island where we saw some old friends and took another hike to visit a much larger colony of rockhopper penguins. We are certainly enjoying the relatively calm, warm conditions of the Falklands and the different species of birds that we find here.

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